My fingers press against the temples of my forehead and I close my eyes hoping to string together a sentence. But, I can’t. I draw a blank.
Sometimes, I hate writing.
Thoughts bounce around my head, ideas flow in and out but they never really amount to anything when I fire up my laptop and brush the tips of my fingers over the keyboard.
The blank white digital page grates on my nerves.
I want to write.
I truly do.
But, the words escape me. And when the words rebelliously evade my attempts to catch hold of them, so do my ideas. When I hit this wall, I feel completely blocked.
This is what writer’s block feels to me.
Perhaps a better word to use is FELT because I strongly believe that I’ve failed my way into a system designed to overcome this problem every writer, including you, will face at some point or another.
People quit writing because of it.
I don’t want you to be one of them.
There are far too many people who subscribe to the notion that dreams are meant for the imagination. If you’re here, hoping to use writing as a tool to achieve a dream, then I take my hat off to you.
You are stronger than most people.
Even if you are facing this obstacle that seemingly appears larger than life, I’m here as a reassuring figure cheering you on.
Writer’s block can be ‘cured’.
It is merely an obstacle that appears in everyone’s life in some way or another.
It just so happens that in our case, it is the inability to imagine, compile, transfer and convert our thoughts into words.
But, with the tools I am about to share with you, it shouldn’t be a problem for much longer. Here’s exactly how to beat writer’s block today.
Stop Absorbing Unnecessary Information
Pretty ironic, given that you have to read this article and take in more information but trust me, I’m onto something here.
Think about this for a second – if you are constantly eating, you’re going to get fat and unfit.
You can never truly understand how much and how long your body can sustain itself without food if you’re constantly eating.
The same can be said for the brain.
If you are constantly feeding information to your brain, when does it have the chance to think freely?
How will you transfer thoughts onto paper if you are so busy absorbing information?
As human beings, we are not designed for multitasking.
We don’t actually partake in two activities at once with an equal division of attention and focus.
We switch between two simultaneous activities and designate less attention to one activity over the other.
In my experience, writer’s block doesn’t necessarily affect someone who hasn’t researched enough or doesn’t have any ideas.
It also affects people who are saturated with too much information.
Your social life, media consumption, conversations and so forth are all transactional-based activities.
You’re giving attention and information in exchange for attention and information.
The only time you can work through the scrambled thoughts in your brain is when you stop transacting.
As cliché as this sounds, meditation is a phenomenal way to break through mental barriers.
The goal of this exercise is to eliminate the consumption of unnecessary information to give you the time, space and freedom to explore ideas and convert them into a written piece.
Have a designated time in your day to isolate yourself in a relaxing space to sort through your thoughts.
Use this time to quiet your mind.
This will bring about mental clarity and creativity. I like to spend 30 minutes in the morning, outside on a bench, just focusing on my breathing and clearing my mind of debilitating thoughts or useless information.
Immediately after, I start jotting down ideas and topics to write about for the day.
Forget About Style Or Substance
Having standards is like a double edge sword – on one hand, it can help you craft killer content but on the other hand, it can prevent you from churning out anything if you don’t meet certain criteria.
Quality isn’t a fixed metric.
I don’t think there’s a writer on Earth who can prove that he or she has maintained the same quality of work throughout their entire career.
It just doesn’t seem likely because, with any form of effort and creative based activity, there’s peaks and valleys.
You have to be willing to ride the wave, irrespective of the quality of work you produce in order to continue producing at all.
That’s where a lot of us get stuck.
We’re already facing a problem with a psychological wall and then we further escalate the problem by trying to maintain a certain quality.
When you’re suffering from writers’ block, forget about your style of writing or the substance of your work.
With singular focus, just transfer your thoughts onto paper.
Don’t worry about editing or anything of that sort. The purpose of this activity is to build momentum.
It’s going to feel difficult at first.
You’re going to sit down at your desk and want to immediately leave. Don’t! Just start typing and let whatever gibberish that comes to mind make it onto paper.
It’s like driving a stick shift car.
After a long layoff, when you try to drive it again, the mechanics and flow of it won’t be the same as when you were practicing consistently. You’ll make mistakes and it will require some force on your part to stick with it.
Drive long enough and muscle memory kind of kicks in. After a relatively short space of time, you’ll find yourself back to driving the way you did before the long sabbatical.
Writing is very similar.
The mechanics, style, substance and quality are stored within you.
To tap into that stuff again, you just have to let momentum take over. As you’re moving forward (in this case, writing), all those techniques you learned over time will come into play again.
You Have To Be Disciplined To Beat Writer’s Block
I know some people may disagree with this or it may rub you up the wrong way BUT discipline is a character trait not found in too many people these days.
According to a British study, the average adult loses focus/concentration after just 7 minutes!
That is freaking awful!
There’s something known as the state of flow, also known as, ‘the zone’ in which they can completely immerse themselves in an activity with singular focus.
They can function at an optimum level and most importantly, they enjoy it!
How are we going to enter the flow state if we can’t focus on something for more than a few minutes at a time before checking our phones?
All distractions have to go!
To break through writer’s block, you have to force yourself to sit in front of that laptop, stare at that blank page and endure the torture of trying to write until you actually end up writing.
Don’t walk away because the more you quit, the easier it becomes to give up every time you sit at your desk and try to write.
Discipline is like a muscle. It is developed through sheer consistency and dedication.
Show up, irrespective of whether you hit your goals or not.
If you can do that much, half the battle is won!
Make Changes Or Undo Changes To Your Routine
Sometimes, monotony can play a factor writer’s block.
Do something for long enough, the novelty wears off.
You’ll still enjoy doing it but that excitement and burst of energy you felt coursing through your veins disappears (to a large extent).
As long as you’re fond of it, you’ll continue.
But, if there is no change of scenery, no new stimulus and you’re being too rigid, it could possibly hamper your creative juices from flowing.
You could try a number of little changes like:
- Writing in a new location
- Choosing a new designated time for writing
- Listen to some music
- Add some artwork to your environment
- Use a different medium for writing or;
- Create a new habit to trigger your routine of writing.
These changes could be all you need to start writing again.
On the flip side, maybe you’ve made changes to your system and now you are unable to adjust appropriately.
Make a list of what you’ve changed and work your way backward.
It’s fairly possible that by returning to your old system, everything goes back to normal and you can break through this mental block.
This is why I like to keep a journal to track my word count and progress each and every day.
By doing this, I am able to analyze my writing sprints and figure out what changes I may have made to my routine and how it affected my performance.
Based on that, I can tweak and play around with my system to constantly improve my performance and keep some of that energy and excitement alive.
At the end of the day, our enjoyment as writers comes from the work.
Creating an actual piece of content is when we thrive. So, in the future, make sure you’re completing work and putting it out into the world.
The more you taste a finished product, the more that feeling of completion is going to drive you on a daily basis to write.
Wrapping It Up On How To Beat Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is a pain in the ass but you can get past it.
Start with that belief and work your way through the system I’ve outlined in this article.
If all else fails, you can try one other approach and that is to motivate yourself with the reward of something that resonates with you.
Whether it’s fame or money, find a trigger and let it be specific.
I’m not afraid to admit that I draw inspiration from the financial success of other authors and writers. It spurs me on.
When I see others succeeding at this craft, I think to myself, “surely I can do the same” and that sparks motivation within me.
At that point, I break through writer’s block.
It’s not a permanent fix but it works.
Thereafter, I implement the system above and drag myself out of the dark depths of writer’s block.
So, do me a favor and share this post or subscribe to my newsletter. If this article was of any help to you, I’d highly appreciate it if you do one of those two things, please.
I’m going to get back to the hustle now and crank out my first fantasy novel.
Catch you guys later!